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Include oceans in Post-2015 goals, UN urged

NEW YORK (dpa) – Oceans need to be part of the United Nation’s (UN) development plans to save the already decaying marine life around the globe, activists urged the UN Tuesday.

Stuart Beck, UN representative of Palau, a tiny Pacific island nation smaller than Singapore, said the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which will set the post-2015 agenda, need to include measurable objectives to save oceans.

Beck said several organizations are working to improve oceans, but through a UN plan, the movement could be unified and streamlined.

”Everybody wants a better ocean,” Beck said. ”What we’re trying to do is create a signpost that says, ‘Go this direction,’ … stand up and get your objectives on the world’s agenda instead of just running around.”

Beck warned of the already deteriorating state of oceans, noting that acidification has already destroyed marine wildlife on an unprecedented scale.

To illustrate how movements can gain momentum, Beck mentioned his country’s initiative three years ago to establish a shark sanctuary in Palauan waters.

The movement has since been joined by several other countries such as the Maldives, Honduras and the Bahamas, increasing the area of safe waters for sharks.

Ghislaine Maxwell, founder of the TerraMar Project, which aims to raise awareness of the high seas, said that people around the world need to understand the importance of saving oceans, which can now be achieved through social media.

”Once the general public can understand … that it is not just a big blue place where you go play on the beach, then it is possible to create a movement around it that will then empower politicians to take the incredibly difficult decisions that they need to make, but that are absolutely essential for the future of our planet,” Maxwell said.